Sunday 18 February 2018

Declan Kidney mulling inside switch for Brian O'Driscoll if D'Arcy fails to pull through

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
Conor George

Conor George

DECLAN Kidney is considering an audacious Plan B for Brian O'Driscoll and using the talisman as an emergency first centre against England.

The possibility of O'Driscoll being moved to the No 12 position on Sunday could become a reality if Gordon D'Arcy doesn't recover in time from the dead leg sustained in Cardiff.

D'Arcy has only been able to take part in a modified training regime so far this week and, according to team manager Mick Kearney, the medical staff remain "guarded" about his recovery.

To complicate matters, Keith Earls is also a cause for concern as he is suffering from a shoulder injury and has yet to see a specialist.

O'Driscoll (above) played at inside centre in one of the Tests during the summer tour to New Zealand and moving him to No 12 is one of the options Declan Kidney is contemplating in a needs-must situation.


"Brian played in the first Test in New Zealand at first centre, so that's an option," explained Kearney. "Fergus McFadden played there for Leinster, so they would be the two options being considered at the moment."

Kearney is confident that Plan B won't have to be implemented and there are hopes that both D'Arcy and Earls will take a full part in training on Friday.

"The two biggest worries are Gordon and Keith," said Kearney. "If the game was on today, neither they nor Peter O'Mahony would be able to play.

"But we expect that they will all train on Friday and be available for selection."

England, meanwhile, have lavished praise upon Ireland's free-moving backline, with their skills coach Mike Catt declaring the visitors will set about trying to "starve" them of possession by winning the battle up front.

"O'Driscoll is playing exceptionally well at the moment. I thought that first half Ireland produced (against Wales) was exceptional," Catt said.

Irish Independent

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